Here Are 4 Travel/Adventure Books Worth Checking Out

I sometimes see books as a “hold-me-over,” a supplement to enjoy until I get to my next adventure.

Here’s a diverse list of four. One’s a novel, one’s a light reference, one’s a thrill guide, and the last is sort of an anthropological text.

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The Reading List

On The Road

“Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk—real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.”

Way before “wanderlust” was a trending hashtag and blogging was a concept in anyone’s head, Jack Kerouac was exploring the continental United States and sharing his travels on paper. This novel expertly captures the beauty and vastness of two beautiful countries (U.S. and Mexico).

America was already settled in the 1950’s, but Kerouac’s unique lens and wild fervor was a brand new angle. In the novel, he meditates on adventure, appetite, the sanctity of human life, and the magnificence of jazz music. A truly beautiful memoir, this book is an essential work within the Beat Generation canon.

LonelyPlanet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures

“We live in fortunate times. The world is more accessible than ever before.”

This is a light, fun read. Some of the adventures are aspire-worthy, experiences to live and long for. Take, for example, #302: Mountain Biking in Chi Phat, Cambodia. The description mentions the “backdrop of mountains, waterfalls and, if you’re lucky, grazing elephants” that you’ll cycle past. Some “adventures” fall flat. I’m not really sure how remarkable paddle boarding in Wisconsin is. Nonetheless, the book is a perfect antidote to any sort of “traveler’s block” or stickiness you may have.

The World’s Most Dangerous Places

“And remember, the most dangerous thing in the world is still ignorance.”

Robert Pelton is a bad ass. He’s a writer and interviewer who has risked his life more times than you can comprehend. Pelton has spent times in places where journalists were being evacuated. This book explores the war-havoced depths of Chechnya, some of the notoriously gang-infested streets of Colombia, Uganda, North Korea, Sudan, and many more. The only common criticism of this book is some of its outdatedness.

Tibet

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“The people of Tibet, even today, can be best understood through an understanding of their past…”

In this revealing book by Thubten Jigme Norbu and Colin M. Turnbull, a vast history and fascinating culture is taught. The writers detail Tibetan history, religious beliefs, customs, food, and various subcultures.

Tibet used to be a grand enigma, a mystical land cutoff to most visitors. Tibetans, though generous in nature, were extremely averse to tourists and researchers. This book, published in 1970, provided ample insight into the beauty and simplicity of Tibetan life.

Norbu was the eldest brother of the current Dalai Lama. His pride in his culture and his personal transparency make for an enjoyable read. He mentions the secret rituals of Tantra and Bon practitioners, explains how Tibet was once full of fierce warriors, and tells of the complicated relationship between Tibet, the Mongols, and the Chinese.

The Hidden Hippie Oasis Down Under

Written by Danielle Peters

Spending a semester in Australia left me with a bunch of new friends, a lifetime of memories, and a bunch of new “favorite places.” One of the places I loved the most (and visited frequently) was Byron Bay, New South Wales.

If you told me my college orientation trip would consist of a bar crawl, skydiving, and tripping on acid at a bonfire with Aboriginal people, I wouldn’t have believed you for a minute. Little did I know, that was what was in store when it came to a weekend in Byron.

The trip started out like any other, packed on a coach bus with a bunch of college kids, passing vodka around in a sports bottle, eagerly awaiting to see this place the brochures spoke so highly of. I knew Byron Bay as the home of Parkway Drive, one of my favorite bands growing up. But I had no clue it was also the hippie capital of the Australia until one of the kids mentioned we’d have a much easier time finding weed over there than in Surfer’s Paradise, where we lived. He wasn’t kidding. The second we stepped off the bus and walked towards the hostel the aroma of marijuana filled the air, no one was wearing shoes, and everything was tie-dye. I knew instantly I was going to like it here.

Immediately, we were led to a trail to do some hiking. I’m not much of a hiker, and was violently hung over, but the trail was absolutely beautiful. We hiked up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, “The Most Easterly Point of the Australian Mainland.” The sight was stunning.

 

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Here’s one of my favorite parts of the hike, about halfway to the lighthouse. I was dry heaving at this point.

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Cape Byron Lighthouse: Worth the hike no matter how many Redbull vodkas you had the night before.

After getting back to the hostel I decided to do some exploring. Since I didn’t know anyone, I grabbed a book and headed to the nearest smoothie shop (the little town had at least 10), ordered an acai bowl and sat down to read. I had a small conversation with the guy making my acai bowl and he told me about all the cool spots that Byron had to offer. He told me about Cheeky Monkey’s, Woody’s, and The Sticky Wicket. Coincidentally, that’s what our tour guide had on the itinerary that night. He assured me he would see me later at one of those bars, and told me to have a nice trip.

The tour guides were kind enough to throw a little pre-game before we went out to get us all mingling. That’s when I found a friend. Her name was Beki and she was from California. We clicked instantly. We stuck together the rest of the night, and when she got kicked out of Cheeky Monkey’s for filming a wet t-shirt contest we headed to the Sticky Wicket.

Almost immediately, we ran into my smoothie shop friend from earlier in the day. We got to talking and I asked if he had any weed we could buy, as neither of us had smoked good weed since we were in the States (the weed back in Surfer’s was atrocious). He didn’t have any weed, but he did have acid. I was a little hesitant, given my only other experience with acid was in a dank basement, listening to Ja Rule for what seemed like an eternity. But I figured I’d give it another shot in nature, and Beki was game. So we took our hits and took to the beach.

Immediately, we ran into a couple that had set up a bonfire on the beach. They were so warm and welcoming to us and asked us to join. One by one, our bonfire grew. People from all over the world, as well as indigenous to Australia came to enjoy the fire with us. A few of the aboriginal people present brought drums, one kid from the states had a guitar. So that’s how we spent the night, with a bunch of different cultures and a warm fire on the most amazing beach I’ve ever seen in my life. Tripping on acid that we got from the guy at the smoothie shop, and waiting for the sun to rise so we could somehow go skydiving the next morning.

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During my nighttime adventures I lost Beki. I ran into a few kids from Germany I recognized from the hostel and decided to do the lighthouse hike with them again to watch the sunrise. They didn’t speak English the whole time and it definitely tripped me out a bit. I’m sure they thought there was something wrong with me.

 


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I made it! Extremely sleep deprived and coming down from my trip, but still one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Over the course of five months I would return to Byron Bay four more times, and each time I was amazed. There’s plenty more that amazing town has to offer but if you ever make it out to Australia you have to see for yourself. Check out the Adventure Dudes and I can guarantee you they’ll make it a trip you’ll never forget.

 

This is Danielle Peters’ first feature article for #HMPYG!

 

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